Life's too short to be in an everyday band; or so Montreal-based the Luyas would have you believe. Unafraid to bypass the conventions of 'normal' pop music, the five piece create a brand of experimental-pop that is refreshingly original and imaginative. Their unusual music, with its fragile melodies and intense crescendos, is matched only by their unusual choice of instruments and band name, and surmounts to a sound that's as far from mediocrity as you could possibly get. The band are soon set to release their second album which if is anything like their newly recorded myspace songs, will be nothing short of outstanding.
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Name: Jessie Stein About us: When I was 8 years old I went to the seaside with my father and some friends of the family. I really liked to swim and ride a thing called a boogie board. As I was a little rotund and self-conscious, my father chose to greet me on the sand one day, gleefully telling of how I had achieved the great feat of riding the ‘rocket wave’! I received a trophy in the mail from Montreal’s most generic trophy makers a number of months later – memorabilia from ‘the rocket wave committee’ sent to my Pops’ place of work. I have been fairly confident ever since. Listening to: I am tempted to tell you that I’ve been listening to Karen Dalton’s amazing “Something on your Mind”, which consumed me completely a few months ago. I could tell you that she was among the great forgotten legends of the 60s Greenwich Village scene and that she sang with Fred Neil when Bobby Dylan was a harmonica call-in. The song has a beautifully reserved arrangement and Dalton just croaks her heart out – singing with the kind of tenderness that intimates understanding, and specific affection for whoever it is she is singing to. It feels as if there is definitely someone in particular that she is singing for, and that particularity is touching. The fact of the matter is, though, that I recently spent $1.29 CAD from a download site on the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes”, and it’s pretty much all I’ve listened to for the last 2 weeks. Reading: I don’t tend to like to read books about rock and roll, but I just read Patti Smith’s new book, “Just Kids”. It’s great. It’s the story of herself and Robert Mapplethorpe growing up together and apart. What I found particularly inspiring about it was the way the two of them revel in fandom, and pedestalize art. I suppose the hardship and the impracticality of being an artist in that generation made it more of a feat- and in turn, perhaps it made more sense for that generation to glorify the nature of their work – which I love. I meet artists all the time, but rarely does my generation talk about the nobility of making touching, beautiful things. Maybe too many people have been let into the club? Maybe too many trust funds? Regardless, I love Patti Smith. I love the loving way she chooses her words, and speaks of her own life’s work with trust and a sense of self-worth. It is utterly refreshing to read an account of such an interesting, challenging, true friendship, whether or not it is a rose-colored retrospective. There is a beautiful self-respect to it. The Luyas' Take Away Show Watching: I’ve been reading the Guardian online a lot. I’ve been checking my email. I ate soup and saw the Fantastic Mr. Fox yesterday evening on a bit of a sick-date. It was cute. Playing: I’m still learning how to play my moodswinger, this strange instrument that my friend Yuri Landman built for me. I’ve been kicking around on an old Hammond organ that Pietro from the Luyas lent me. Eating: I just ate what was left-over of the chocolate that was left at my house after a dinner party. My goal for the rest of the month until I go on tour though is to empty my cupboards, and not spend money on anything except fresh vegetables when I feel I need them. I love cooking, but I’m too poor for the moment. My favourite thing is rice bowls with steamed veges and variations on miso-tahini sauces. I’m a bit of a hippy. Anything else: I went to SXSW and got sick of it. Everyone around me got sick of it. But my special friend and I we hitched town and fled for New Orleans. It is the most amazing place in America. We heard amazing Cajun/Creole French DJs speaking on the radio – a particularly bizarre accent for a Quebecoise to hear. Mausoleum graves, roots that eat sidewalks, the most beautiful metal work everywhere, and people that aren’t afraid of their senses. Promo Info: The Luyas have a new album that we are working on figuring out release details for. It was arranged by Owen Pallett, and recorded with our favourite engineer, Jeff Mcmurrich, and we’re terribly proud of it. We’ll be doing a bunch of shows in New York in late April, and then some Canadian stuff in early May, with our friends Cotton Mouth. More info can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/theluyas, or on our blog theluyas.blogspot.com. Hopefully we’ll make it back to the UK soon!